You will be able to partigyle a big beer with the 52, which you can’t with the 36. There’s no downside to going bigger as long as you wrap the cooler with some insulation when you’re doing smaller grain bills, so I would go with the 52.
I’ve got the 52 qt one and have no problem holding temp with 5 gallon batches, even when winter brewing in the garage. My process is to put in my strike water, put the lid on for ~5 minutes and then add my grain. I lose ~1 degree in an hour mash. The outside of the cooler is barely warm after an hour mash so I don’t think I’m losing much heat.
I never checked how much it actually holds but I’ve never had a problem fitting10 gallon batch mashes when I do a double batch.
The Amazon cooler appears to have better lid insulation, which is a plus, but after building a couple of cooler MTs recently, what really matters is the drain – I like to keep them simple, with no bulkhead, so a ½” diameter, straight hole with no spigot is ideal. You might want to decide how you’re going to get the wort out of the cooler before making a purchase.
Just for reference, I have the 40qt Coleman extreme and I can mash about 20lbs of grist without any issues so you can still make pretty big 5G batches with it. I used a ball valve on the outlet side and brass nipple (1/2’’ i think?) attached to a hose braid on the inside. It was really easy to do, other than the fact it was near impossible to find ss washers that were big enough to fit over the ball valve on the inside of the kettle. This cooler is great, you lose almost nothing in dead loss.
[quote=“hyperlight66”]was planning on using this:[/quote]It’ll work, but you may have to modify the bulkhead pieces and/or the cooler. Pull the cooler’s valve/spigot out and check the hole - if it’s too small to insert the bulkhead’s threaded piece, you can widen with a hole saw, and if too big, you can get larger o-rings/washers and use some silicon caulk to get a seal. Then with the threaded pipe in the hole, see if there’s enough thread on each side to attach the bulkhead pieces - if not, you’ll need a longer pipe.
When you install the bulkhead, be sure to just tighten the fittings until they’re snug, don’t crank down on them or you’ll flatten and twist the o-rings and it will leak (or you may crush the cooler wall a little and it won’t be flat enough to get a good seal). It’s worth the couple of bucks to have a tube of aquarium-grade silicon caulk on hand before you start just in case (and a thin bead around the outside washer as insurance won’t hurt).
Flip, that is what i’m planning on doing. I’m going to order the same parts today
Seems like alot of people have the 52qt coleman, but they also wanted it for doing 10 gal batches. Even thou the 36qt and 52qt are the same price, the smaller one will take up less room on the self. Right now i’m leaning towards the 36qt.
I’ve got the 32qt one and in retrospect I probably should have gone larger. I can get a little over 17 pounds of grain in there at about 1.2-1.3 qt/lb. However, despite conventional wisdom I move the mash to a lauter-tun and fly sparge so I’m not sure how well batch sparging would work with a grain bill that pushes the limits of capacity.
You can always mash with a higher mash ratio to keep the tun more or less full. I havne’t noticed a lot of difference in efficiency from doing no-sparge and mashing with as much as 3.5qt/lb. I know the conventional wisdom is to get equal runnings but I don’t think the difference in efficiency is very great.
For what it’s worth they do live up to the hype for their intended purpose!
Friday afternoon I bought 20 pounds of ribs to cook for the 4th of July. Friday evening crazy storms rolled over the DC area and knocked out power everywhere. I threw the ribs in my Coleman Xtreme and covered them in ice. Our power came back on last night and my fridge was back to proper temperature this morning. I opened the cooler this morning to find most of the ice hadn’t melted and the ribs had been saved.
Two days in a hot DC summer with no power aint much fun… eeesh.
At least my beer fridges are cold again!! :cheers: